pounds 400m student grant call

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The Independent Online
GOVERNMENT ADVISERS yesterday called for a pounds 400m programme of grants to offer young people a second chance of gaining an education, and condemned the current lottery of discretionary grants awarded by local authorities.

They said a national system of grants for teenage college students was vital to give school leavers from poor backgrounds the opportunity of further education or training at college.

At present, grants for further education students vary considerably from one local authority to another. Many councils have abandoned their discretionary grants altogether.

Proposals put to David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education and Employment, include doubling the current pounds 200m council grants budget to give all sixth-formers free travel to college, and offering pounds 300-a-year grants to those on Income Support.

Graham Lane, chairman of the DfEE's advisory group on student support, said ministers should also consider scrapping child benefit for 16- to 19-year-olds to release an extra pounds 600m to help students.